Kesar Kaju Burfi is one of the most popular, exotic, eye-appealing and delectable sweet delicacies that is prepared during the Diwali festival in most parts of India. It is a rich and mouth melting sweet prepared from cashew nuts and milk solids flavoured with a touch of saffron, enhanced and garnished with silver warq (edible silver foil).
Kesar Kaju Burfi is also known as Kaju Katli, diamond shaped sweet made with cashew nuts and sugar. As this Indian sweet delicacy is moderately sweet in taste and rich with scrumptious taste of cashew-nuts, it is preferred by all the people who do not like extreme sugary items. This sweet is very similar to a barfi. Kaju means cashew nuts in Hindi and Barfi is often made by thickening milk with sugar and other ingredients such as dry fruits and mild spices to give a rich flavour. In this recipe, I have added Kesar or saffron which is considered to be more exotic and rich. It is an expensive dessert compared to other counterparts.
Kesar or saffron is native to the Mediterranean region, primarily Greece and Spain as well as Southwest Asia. It is used in a number of dishes such as bouillabaisse, a traditional fish stew from Marseille, Eggless Saffron And Pistachio Cake, Saffron Rice, Saffron Chicken With Mushrooms, Zafrani pulao, Saffron Kulfi, Saffron Tea, Rajasthan Sooji Halwa and many more. Saffron is spicy with a slightly bitter taste and therefore must be used sparingly, which is just as well due to the cost of the spice. Although saffron has a strong flavour, it is mainly used for its colour, adding a bright yellowy-orange tint to the food. This is where the “paella valenicana” and many Indian rice dishes obtain their typical bright yellow colour.
Kesar or Saffron in itself is bitter in taste and only when used in the right proportion and in the right way, does it add its unique magical touch to the dishes. Saffron is obtained from the saffron crocus, a flower that has lilac coloured petals. If you look at the crocus close up, you will notice that there are three orange strands in the centre of the flower. These strands or stigmas as they are also known are the un-dried saffron strands that we use in cooking. Saffron’s authentic flavour is best released through heat. Therefore, the best way to use saffron in Indian cooking is to soak whole threads of it in hot liquid before use. You can either use warm water or hot milk for the purpose, depending on the kind of dish you are preparing. The ideal proportion is one teaspoon of saffron soaked in three teaspoons of liquid, without breaking or crushing them. The traditional, and perhaps the best way is to soak this for about two hours, which lets the threads increase in volume and double in size. Once soaked thoroughly, use the whole saffron threads as and when needed. This form of saffron is best used on Indian main courses like Biryani or Zafrani Pulao and also in desserts like Kheer, Phirni, etc. They can be used for garnishing as well on desserts and other dishes.
Burfi or Barfi is a very popular sweet confectionary from the Indian subcontinent. There are a variety of burfees that we can make such as Besan burfi (made with gram flour), Plain Kaju burfi (made with cashew nuts), Badam burfi (made with almonds), Coconut burfi (made with coconut), Rava burfi (made with semolina), and Walnut burfi etc. Traditionally the burfi is made from milk or condensed milk cooked with sugar until it solidifies. They are often flavoured with nuts, cardamom or rose water, mango or coconut etc. They are coated with a thin layer of edible metallic leaf known as vark. These burfees are attractively cut into different shapes like square, diamond or round. Different types of barfi vary greatly in their color and texture.
To prepare this incredible variety of Indian sweet delicacy, firstly soak the cashew nuts in water for 3 hours. Drain the water and grind the cashew nuts finely. In a pan mix sugar and cashew nuts, and roast on low heat, stirring constantly. Mix saffron and orange colour in it. Roast till done. On the rolling board place a butter paper and pour the mixture on it. Now place another butter paper, sandwiching the mixture between the two papers. Roll it with rolling pin. Remove the butter paper from top and place silver vrak, and cut the Kesar Kaju Burfi pieces.
Saffron has long been used for medicinal purposes. Like other herbs, saffron is also useful in the treatment of stomach and gastrointestinal disorders amongst other ailments. Saffron stimulates digestion and soothes the stomach. It eases wind and lessens intestinal gas. It has been used as an antidepressant and a general tonic. Saffron is a mild sedative. Saffron is said to be an aphrodisiac.
Kesar or Saffron marks its presence in all cuisines of the world and is a universal ingredient. Thus, use a little bit of saffron and adds the mystical flavour, aroma and colour to your dishes. Do try this wonderful delicacy. Click on the below link for detailed recipe: